With pretty much everything nowadays, the advancements in technology means that our valuables have become much more valuable. Our phones, laptops and tablets are all things we carry on our person on a daily basis yet are worth more than they ever have been.
And, our cars are no different. With increased technology, cars are a more appealing target for thieves.
That said, the advancement in technology also means that cars are fitted with impressive anti-theft technology which means that actually, car thefts are falling.
However, they are still happening. And, thieves are getting smarter. It was recently reported that thieves are finding ways of unlocking cars by using a transmitting device that extends the signal from a keyless fob.
So, how do you prevent your car from being stolen? In this article, we look at some of the top ways to prevent your car from being stolen.
Double check your car is locked
This sounds obvious, but how many times have you heard someone say “did I lock my car?”. Locking your car, like locking your front door or turning the iron off, is something that we do so much we don’t always think about it. However, just like forgetting to turn the iron off, we do occasionally forget to lock our cars.
Usually you can hear your car lock, but you should stay and listen to hear that definitive click so you know it’s locked. Most cars have flashing indicators to let you know it’s locked so look out for those too. Some security experts warn that some thieves use remote locking jammers to target cars and prevent the signal from your fob from reaching your car. This is so the car stays unlocked. Therefore it is always best to double check.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to try and open your car. However, with keyless entry becoming more popular, this could end up being pretty counterproductive as it could simply unlock your car again. In this case, you should look at the internal catches. This could either be the pin on top of the door or catches on the internal handle.
Hide your belongings
While it can be a pain, making sure your belongings are hidden when you get out of your car stops them being attractive to thieves. Hiding your sat-nav in the central console or putting your laptop in the boot means that potential thieves can’t see them.
Also, be aware of what you are leaving on the seats, regardless of whether it looks valuable or not. Leaving a coat or a jumper or even an empty bag makes it look like you are concealing something. Even if you aren’t. You should also make sure there’s no paperwork on display, just in case someone wants to steal your identity.
Be careful about where you park
Of course you probably aren’t going to be parking down a dark alley in a dodgy part of town, but cars can get stolen anywhere, even in the nice parts. Try and park somewhere that is well lit, preferably under a street lamp. This is even if you are parking during the day so if you are there for longer than planned, your car will be lit.
If you are out eating dinner or having drinks, try and park your car where you can see it. If you can’t sit close enough, then someone else might notice if something odd is going on.
If you are parking in a car park then we recommend trying to park in amongst a lot of other cars. Thieves will more likely target a car on its own at the very end of the car park, rather than one that is surrounded by cars and people coming and going.
Think about where you keep your keys at home
Most people, myself included, keep their keys next to their front door. It just makes sense to keep them there. However, thieves will go ‘letterbox fishing’ to try and get the keys so think about where you are keeping your keys in relation to your door. Thieves will also try and get through windows and try back doors as they are often left unlocked. Car theft doesn’t just happen when you are out and about, it can happen right on your drive.
Add to the cars security equipment
The best way to deter thieves is to have as much safety equipment on your car as possible. Some additional safety equipment may be pricey, but it will be worth it in the long run. Consider investing in things such as;
- A steering wheel lock
- Locks for your gearstick or pedals
- Consider a tracker
- This will cost you a small annual fee but if your car does get stolen the police can track it for you
- Also, stickers on your car that state you have a tracker work as a good deterrent.
- Alternatively, invest in a small home CCTV system
- It doesn’t cost the earth and it could be worth it
- Pay for the safety kit as an optional extra
- Many cars these days can come with a safety kit as an optional extra. While this might cost you a little bit more, it will be worth it.
Utilise the safety equipment your car does have
Many cars these days have a number of safety features that people may not even realise they have. For example, many modern cars have lights that will stay on for a period of time, usually about 30 seconds, so you can get to your door safely.
Others have a system that locks the doors automatically as you pull away so it’s important that you have that activated.
Don’t leave your car running
Hear us out. It’s the middle of winter and your car is icy. So you turn on the engine and pop back in your house to carry on getting ready for work or school or to top up your thermos flask only to find someone has jumped in your car and driven off.
Not only is this a huge pain because it so easily could have been prevented but it also invalidates your insurance. So, don’t leave your car running.
So there are some of our top tips for preventing your car from being stolen.
Which cars are the most stolen in the UK?
While thieves don’t discriminate when it comes to cars, there are some cars that are more popular with thieves. Here were the top ten most stolen cars in the UK in 2015;
- Audi S3
- Land Rover Defender
- Land Rover Range Rover
- Audi Q7
- Ford Escort
- BMW X5
- Audi A5
- Mitsubishi Shogun
- BMW 5 Series
- Toyota Hilux
However, even if you don’t have one of those cars doesn’t mean you should be lax on your car’s security.
In conclusion, the best way to keep your car safe is to park it in a well-lit, busy area, double and triple check your car is locked and consider investing in some extra security equipment to deter thieves. While some of these tips may seem obvious, when you drive so much you can end up becoming relaxed when it comes to checking your car is locked or making sure the windows are up. But you should always be vigilant, regardless of how expensive your car is or the area you live in. As we said, thieves don’t discriminate.